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Perhaps in the recent times in our history, there is no ethnic group’s name that has sent many to scamper more than the mentioning of the Fulɓe people (Fulani). Across the broad spectrum of the country, the group currently remains the most fearful. Tales upon tales of woes are told in conventional media and social media about atrocities of the group that many wonder why their invincibility and the audacious rampage, that today sends many to their early graves and causing untold hardship to many more.

Fulani is one of the largest ethnic groups in the world and represents the biggest transhumance people. Widely dispersed, they inhabit several territories  in the Sahel, West Africa,  Central Africa, South Sudan, Sudan and regions near the Red Sea coast, thus covering  area larger in size than the continental United States Their beauty, clothing, culture, spiritual prowess and simplicity of living attracted many to them. A Fulani, (male, female), was adored by mankind to the extent UNESCO included their cultural activities, particularly the annual festival known as the Dewgal, on its list of world cultural heritage events.

 The Fulani feel a cultural and religious superiority to surrounding peoples and that adoption became a major ethnic boundary ‘’marker” between the group and other ethnic groups. More than 90% of the Fulɓe are Muslims  and have helped formed several historic Islamic theocracies. A significant proportion – a third, are pastoralists, thus the largest nomadic pastoral community in the world; moving around with their cattle, goats and sheep. They are classified into three based on settlement patterns, viz: the Nomadic/Pastoral or Mbororo, Semi-Nomadic and Town Fulani.

Beyond the current politicization of the Fulbe people and their fabrics, the PEACE strongly feels that understanding an average Fulani mindset would be a good platform to addressing the seeming invincibility and belligerency of the group. Central to her people’s lifestyle is a code of behavior known as pulaaku (“Fulani pathways”), which consists of the qualities of patience, self-control, discipline, prudence, modesty, respect for others, (including foes), wisdom, forethought, personal responsibility, hospitality, courage and hard work which are passed on by each generation as high moral values of the Fulbe.

Therefore, if the above represent what the Fulani stand for, then the Nigerian state and other ethnic groups in it should be ready to exploit these to develop a synergy for permanent peace. The present profanity, hatred and phobia towards the group might not be the best option.

Rather than outright confrontations as ignorantly preached by a section of the country the current inter-war between the pastoral Fulani and sedentary farmers can be tackled through dialogues and sincere overtures. A Fulani in Senegal is the same in Nigeria and because of the “Fulani pathways”; they are ready to square up with any other ethnic group on behalf of their brethren. In virtually every area of West Africa where they reside, there has been an increasing trend of conflicts between farmers and pastoral nomads.   Thus, we join well-meaning Nigerians and other stake-holders to support all efforts to ensure that peace reigns. The proposed establishment of Fulani radio, the Ruga colony and dialogue machinery are welcoming. What many may not know is that Fulani are well enlightened group and dogmatic. With a radio channel, the Government and security apparatuses can re-order the thoughts of the recalcitrant ones amongst them, and with Ruga, there will be less friction with others-the local agricultural populations. The Fulani believe that the expansion of the grazing reserves will boost livestock population, lessen the difficulty of herding, reduce seasonal migration and enhance the interaction among farmers, pastoralists and rural dwellers. without the option of dialogue  the  horizon is cloudy. This is the reality.

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